I saw the above last month, as I was walking along the street around the back of the Wellcome Trust. It really chimed with me, hence me stopping to take the photo. At the time I was seeing out my notice period at a job which, though I enjoyed aspects of it, hardly made me want to leap out of my pit every morning with the enthusiasm of a Wellcome Trust researcher.
I quit my job because, after years of talking the talk, I’m going back into higher education to do the Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies MA programme at the University of Nottingham (I should get some money knocked off my tuition fees for the free promotion, if only!). My reason for choosing the course is that it provides the best possible training in early medieval languages (mainly Old English, but maybe picking up a bit of Old Norse along the way) and the interpretation of vernacular texts and place-names. In time I hope to be able to be able to analyse such data from an informed linguistic perspective alongside the spatial and historical qualities I feel confident to comment upon at present. If the textbooks I have been reading are anything to go by, the coming months will be little short of revelatory.
Being accepted onto the MA has given me the impetus to redouble my efforts to seek new public outlets for my research and I have had proposed contributions accepted for a couple of upcoming conferences. I’ll reveal more about both of these as and when things are confirmed, but suffice to say my contributions will concern the nexus of material archaeology and place-name terminology that I have been writing about so much these past few months. Indeed, I have just finished another update on the topic, this time considering how a number of books and essays have approached the body of material evidence in order to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of archaeology that is not determined by historical preconceptions, and how place-name evidence is the neglected elephant in the room.
For the next week or so I will be swapping weird pachydermic metaphors for packing (and unpacking). I hope to be able to post something else before long – it will be a joy to be writing about things I do as part of “the day job” – but it may be a while before I’m back in the routine of making the time to undertake the usual rigamarole of reading and writing. As much as I’ll be buzzing and getting out of bed with a smile on my face each morning, I do have a Freshers Week to get through…